Proving experience is not everything, 41-year-old Kebonemodisa ‘Dose’ Mosimanyane has enjoyed a flying start to his role as Botswana Athletics Head Coach.
In his first major assignment, the unassuming Maun native helped mastermind an impressive haul of medals at the recent African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
In total, Team BW secured three Golds and a Silver on the track.
To put his rise into perspective, Mosimanyane only took up informal coaching with his hometown club in 2016, where he still serves as Assistant Coach.
Fresh from his exploits in North Africa, the hunky Mosimayane sat down with The Voice’s Portia Mlilo for a quick re-cap on the African Games, an in-depth look at his journey to date and his hopes for the future.
Q. Congratulations on your Moroccan success. So, when did you develop an interest in coaching Athletics?
A. In 2014, I met Kealeboga Ndiane after he had won the ‘My Maun Experience’ annual festival breakfast run.
I asked him why he ran 12km fun run barefooted and he said he didn’t like running with shoes.
The following year, his friend and training partner, Gaolethong Kwatso came 3rd also running barefoot because he didn’t have running shoes.
I offered to help them with running gear and travel expenses to competitions.
Later they introduced me to Kemorena Tisang who invited me to Maun Stadium where I met the rest of Maun Athletics Club athletes and their coaches Meleko Ndolo and Odirile Sibanda.
At that point I was only interested in athletes’ welfare like travel, equipment and sponsorship.
I agreed with the coaches that I would assist in anyway possible with welfare.
In 2016, Sibanda moved from Maun and the club was left with only Ndolo so I helped him training athletes and monitoring their running time.
That is how I became the Assistant Coach. The same year, we sent some athletes to Potchefstroom and they impressed the coaches, Jean Verster and Cyril Lawless.
Lawless then spoke to one Professor Joubert in Cape Town to pay us a visit in Maun to find out what we were doing right to produce such good athletes with little resources.
My aspirations were really to become an agent or manager, and deal with issues of welfare but I ended up here!
Q. But how does a relatively inexperienced Club Assistant end up becoming BAA Africa Games Head Coach?
A. I guess it all started at the club when our Head Coach Ndolo put me in charge of all the senior athletes this season.
He was impressed by the improvement in Leungo Scotch [400m runner] and Victor Ntweng’s [400m runner] performance and had confidence in me.
Ndolo is passionate about grassroots development, so he told me he would focus on the youth and junior athletes but would help where I needed assistance.
I was the one travelling with the senior team all the time which made me more visible and eligible.
The other issue was that of availability – I am unemployed so I am almost always available!
Most coaches have other full time jobs.
Q. How easy or difficult is coaching?
A. It’s easy because I love it, it’s something I wouldn’t mind doing for the rest of my life!
It’s hard because it’s a 24-hour job.
When you’re not coaching you’re researching or preparing; there is always something new to learn.
It’s also difficult because [to the athlete] you are coach, father, physio, psychologist, counsellor and everything.
It needs one to be strong physically, mentally, emotionally and financially because sometimes you have to pay for transport and accommodation for athletes to participate in competitions.
Q. This was your first international event. How did you find the build-up?
A. It wasn’t easy because it was my first and I was going as Head Coach, which is a huge responsibility.
There was also not enough time to train as national team.
It was easy in the sense that the team manager, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, the Assistant Coach, Yaimara Asencio and some of the senior athletes who had experience with international events were always there, willing and ready to help me.
The other thing that helped me was that, this season as Team Maun, we did quite a bit of travelling and I always went as Coach and Team Manager so I gained some experience from that.
Q. Going into the Games, what was your target in terms of medals and athletes qualifying for up-coming major events?
A. As a club, our main target this season was to have athletes qualify for the World Champs and Olympics.
We knew that if we did well at the Nationals and the Gaborone International Meet, we would qualify for the Southern Region Senior Championships, then the All Africa Games where we would try to qualify for the World Champs and try to qualify for the Olympics.
As the National team, we went to Rabat looking to win medals and better our medal standing and position from that of Congo, Brazzaville 2015.
Q. How did you feel when you saw your athletes winning medals at an international event?
A. It was very emotional.
We had worked hard preparing for the Games especially at a club level and to see good results was the most exciting thing.
I am so proud of Team Botswana. We made it!
Q. What final words of wisdom did you share with the athletes before they took to the track?
A. Galefele [Moroko, Women’s 400m Gold medalist] didn’t want to talk much.
She stopped talking to me after the semis.
I asked her at the semi-final warm-up if she needed me for anything and she shook her head so I knew she felt we had talked enough since we got into camp.
But I forced a two seconds pep talk in the morning of the final just to remind her that she had already qualified for the World Championships so no pressure, we just wanted a Personal Best.
I spoke to Ditiro [Nzamani, 400m runner] next and it was a short one too because I talk to him a lot.
He told me that he was ready too.
We discussed his race plan abo a re ene waa go e bulela, o bata 1 and 2 (he will go all out and need position 1 and 2) for Botswana.
We just laughed and I wished him the best of luck.
I had dinner with Scotch and Tshepiso Masalela [800m runner] so we had time for a long chat.
Scotch and Masalela tried to avoid the topic of their final race and they were nervous.
Scotch said his body was heavy while Masalela said he couldn’t get used to the stadium.
In the end, Moroko, Scotch, 4x400m relay team won Gold Medals and Women 4x400m relay team won Silver and I was happy they improved their time.
Q. What are the main challenges that local athletes face?
A. To prepare for an athletics season requires a lot from an athlete and most of the time all they have is their talent.
They need training programs, gear, equipment, food, transportation, supplements, rehydration, phyisio and all.
One of the reasons our team did well this season is because we were able to travel to all competitions in Gaborone and Francistown and also some in the region like in South Africa and Namibia.
This was made possible by the assistance we got from a group of individuals from Ngamiland called Tjabutjabu, who covered almost all our travel expenses and the rest were covered by my friends and family.
Most notably my friends: Leatile Gaobakwe and Bothwell Morei.
We also had Tee Pee transport helping us with free or subsidised tickets whenever we were short and Tumo Moremong helping us with physiotherapy.
Mabua Mabua paid for the gym for all our senior athletes and transportation to drop off the athletes after training for the whole season.
Nijel Amos, Jerry Motsau and Amantle Montsho gave us bags of spikes, trainers and other training gear.
Without all this help, we would not have been able to achieve even half of what we achieved this season because our athletes would have been under-raced and would not have reached peak performance.
Q. One slightly sour note from the Games was former Africa Champion Isaac Makwala’s failure to qualify for the finals. What happened there?
A. Coming back from injury, and that being his first competition since the injury, it wasn’t going to be easy for him to replicate his usual performance.
But you could tell he was in tip-top shape, just competition rusty.
It’s normal after a long layoff.
He still has a lot of fire in him…. Di Olympic tse di tang tse go ya go swa motho (the coming Olympics are going to be exciting!).
I see a lot of great comebacks in the 2020 season.
Imagine Wayde, Sibanda, Badman, Kirani James and the new guys.
Q. What are some of the highlights of your relatively short career to date?
A. Completing my first coaching course was the most exciting thing and a great achievement.
Other achievements were when Leungo Scotch won the Gaborone International Meet, Galefele Moroko’s race in Potchefstroom when she qualified for the World Champs.
Our athletes also won medals from the Southern Senior Championships in Mauritius.
Being selected to go with the National team to both Manchester Championships where both 4×4 men and women won Gold medals.
Morocco results were also impressive.
Q. Impressive indeed – let’s hope there’s more to come! Anyway, Thank God it’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?
A. I will be just home.
It has been a hectic two weeks in Morocco and I need to rest before we start preparing for the World Champs.